clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chicago’s First Pour-All-Your-Own-Beer Bar Opens In Wicker Park

Tapster on North Avenue is the city’s first to fully tap into the trend

Nick Fochtman

Today’s the day that the city of Chicago officially gets its first establishment where customers pour all their own beer. That would be Tapster in Wicker Park, a beer drinker’s paradise outfitted with 62 taps of suds, draft cocktails, wine, craft soda and coffee drinks — all of them to be poured by customers themselves. Also of note: food.

To recap, Tapster, 2027 W. North Ave., utilizes the Pour My Beer system that’s powered by “tapcards.” Customers buy or refill them at the host stand immediately to the right of the entrance, or choose to link credit cards and have their tapcards automatically refill akin to opening a tab. Then they’ll bring cards to whichever tap they like — each tap pours four options displayed on touch screens — before placing their cards in a holder, grabbing a glass from a ledge above the taps (there are many types to pick from), choosing their beverage on the screen, and pouring. Drinkers can pour as little or as much as they want — they’re charged by the ounce — although there’s a 32-ounce maximum that customers can pour at once, give or take, depending on ABV of what they’re pouring. Mixing and matching throughout your stay is encouraged by management, who hope the concept educates customers, expands palettes, and fosters guest interaction.

Most of the taps line the left wall in the front room, opposite most of the tables. A second room, with more taps, a bar serving shots and other liquor options, more tables, and armchairs lie in a second room beyond that. A bright back room with a skylight, communal table, swings and a deli counter is where customers can order food, which consists of sandwiches, fondue, craft popcorn, cheese, and snacks. Read through the food menu and full taplist below, and click here for a photo tour of the space, which holds 70 seats and is decorated with local art. Ownership plans live acoustic music at times for additional entertainment.

Although it was announced first, Tapster isn’t the first pour-all-your-own-beer bar in Chicagoland. That’s Red Arrow Taproom which opened in January in suburban Elmhurst, and another is coming soon to Logan Square. Other local spots have previously utilized pour-your-own-beer options at traditional bars — notably Public House in River North — but those are often tabletop taps and constitute only a portion their beer options.

So Tapster is the first of its kind in the city of Chicago, and constitutes a big step towards tapping into the trend in the area. Customers can try it out for the first time beginning tonight.

Tapster, 2027 W. North Ave., (773) 661-2182, opens tonight at 7 p.m. Regular hours are 4 p.m. until midnight Monday through Friday and 2 p.m. until 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Opening beer and cider list: AleSmith Vietnamese Speedway Stout. Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, Revolution Straight Jacket, Moody Tongue Caramelized Chocolate Churro, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, Odd Side Mayan Mocha Stout, Half Acre Shrub Tundra, 4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout, Almanac Farmers Reserve Nectarine, Penrose Session Sour, Citizen Cider Dirty Mayor, Seattle Cider Cranberry, Guinness Stout, Founder's Rubeaus (Nitro), Half Acre GoneAway, Half Acre Daisy Cutter, Revolution Anti Hero, Revolution Fist City, Maplewood Charlatan, Maplewood Son of Juice, Maine Beer Co. Peeper, Dogfish Head 90 Minute, Forbidden Root Money on my Rind, Allagash White, Ale Asylum Unshadowed, Stiegl Grapefruit Radler, Half Acre Pony, Surly Hell, Miller High Life, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Une Annee Le Seul XVIII, Founder's Frootwood.

Wine, coffee, soda, and cocktails: Prosecco by Signolo (Veneto, Italy), Sauvignon Blanc by Mohua (Marlborough, New Zealand), Viognier by Miner Family Winery (Napa, California), Chardonnay by Baileyana (San Luis Obispo, California), Pinot Noir by Vinum Cellars (San Luis Obispo, California), Tinto (Syrah & Tempranillo) by Trenza (San Luis Obispo, California), Malbec by Santa Julia (Mendoza, Argentina), Cabernet Sauvignon by True Myth (Paso Robles, California), Metric Coffee nitro cold brew. Metric Coffee cold brew, 164 Brewing lemon honey soda, ginger beer, cider soda, cranberry rosemary soda, lemongrass ginger kombucha, oolong kombuch, mango tumeric kombucha, seasonal hibiscus ginger cardamom kombucha, old fashioned (Dickel whiskey, angostura bitters, demerara sugar), southern tea cocktail (Dickel rye, Combier peach liqueur, peach tea, lemon), mezcal fields (Banhez mezcal, Combier liqueur, strawberry, lime, salt), sidecar (Hennessy V.S, Chandon sparkling, simple syrup, lemon), margarita (Libelula tequila, Combier liqueur, simple syrup, lime, salt), paloma (Libelula tequila, Pamplemousse rose, grapefruit juice, black pepper tea, lime), pisco sour (Control pisco, Combier apricot liqueur, simple syrup, lemon) pisco punch (Control pisco, Combier mure liqueur, simple syrup, pineapple juice, lime) Kovalender (Koval white rye, beer, lavender tea, lemon) prairie soda cocktail (Prairie organic vodka, elderflower, lime), island punch (RumHaven coconut rum, pineapple, coconut syrup), prairie mule (Prairie gin, ginger syrup, lime).

FIRST THING

Avocado Toast / burrata cheese, pine nuts $8

Overnite Oats / yogurt, fruits, granola $5

Bagels / everything or plain, cream cheese or butter $1.50

MIDDAY

Snacks / assorted olives, craft popcorn, pretzels, beef jerky $3-5

PB&J / natural peanut butter, homemade jelly, marble swirl rye bread $5

Grilled Cheese / three cheeses, sourdough bread $6.50

Pro Pro / prosciutto, provolone cheese, pesto spread, sourdough bread $11

Tu Pa / turkey pastrami, swiss cheese, creole mustard, marble swirl rye bread $8

Ham Sandwich / black forest ham, American cheese, pretzel role $8

Corned Beef Sliders / St Patrick’s Day special – 3 pretzel role sliders $8

Caprese / mozzarella, tomato, basil on sourdough toast $7

*all sandwiches come with pickle

EVENING

Bread / oil and assorted cold cheese $5

Snacks / assorted olives, craft popcorn, pretzels, beef jerky $3-5

Cheese Fondue / mild or spicy melted cheese served with pretzel bread or kabanosy $7-12

Chocolate Fondue / dark or light melted chocolate with seasonal fruits and pretzels $6.50-12

Cheese Plate / seasonal cheeses & spreads, served with crackers & toast $12-20

Charcuterie Plate / seasonal meats & spreads served with crackers & toast $12

Abe Froman / massive meat plate with spreads, crackers & toast galore $17

Gelato / Angelo’s fresh gelato, dark or light melted chocolate, happiness $4-7.50

Cannoli / Angelo’s fresh made cannoli – mini or regular $2.50-4

Tapster

2027 West North Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 661-2182 Visit Website

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Chicago newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world